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Worst U.S. Airports for Delays

 People wait in an airport


Expect more travel headaches in summer than in winter.

En español | As the summer travel season begins, you’ll want to pay extra attention to flights you book to certain airports. 

MagnifyMoney crunched numbers related to on-time arrival data from the U.S. Department of Transportation from 2008 to 2017. Of the 50 busiest airports in the United States, 52 percent had more summer delays than winter delays. Last summer saw some of the highest increases, with about half of the airports having more delays than in the summer of 2016.

Looking at the top 50 airports, Newark Liberty International (New Jersey) was worst for summer delays with an on-time arrival rate of just 67 percent, according to the report. The others in the bottom 10, with an on-time arrival rate ranging from 68 to about 75 percent, are LaGuardia (New York), San Francisco International, John F. Kennedy International (New York), Logan International (Boston), O'Hare International (Chicago), Miami International, Ronald Reagan Washington National, Raleigh-Durham (North Carolina) and Philadelphia International.

The airports with the best on-time arrivals, ranging from 80 to 88 percent, were Honolulu International (Hawaii), Salt Lake City International (Utah), John Wayne Airport (Orange County, Calif.), Phoenix Sky Harbor International, Seattle-Tacoma International, Portland International (Oregon), Minneapolis-St. Paul International, San Jose International (California) and McCarran International (Las Vegas).

June is the worst month for delays in the summer, according to the report. Analysts noted they used arrival data, instead of departure data, because a late departure can still mean an on-time arrival if a pilot can make up the time in the air.   

To avoid possible delays this summer, here are a few suggestions.

• If severe weather is in the forecast, check to see if your airline is offering to waive change fees. You may be able to leave earlier to avoid the severe weather or go later.

• Be selective of airports you connect through.

• Early-morning flights are less likely to face delays.

As you travel this summer, you also want to be mindful of security changes at certain airports. AARP reported last year on a program that the Transportation Security Administration rolled out requiring you to remove more than just your laptop at security checkpoints.

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